Article

They toil not, neither do they spin

Nothing illustrates the distance between the political culture and reality in modern governments so much as the billions invested in wind power. Presumably the purpose of such investments is to a) reduce greenhouse emissions and b) reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The plain fact that it increases both seems not to have bothered anyone.

Nothing illustrates the distance between the political culture and reality in modern governments so much as the billions invested in wind power. Presumably the purpose of such investments is to a) reduce greenhouse emissions and b) reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The plain fact that it increases both seems not to have bothered anyone.

Except, perhaps, the John Muir Trust. The JMT is a conservation charity that protects wild lands in Scotland. The trust commissioned a study of wind power that covered UK wind farms for about two years (2008-2010). The BBC summarizes the results.

Statements made by the wind industry and government agencies commonly assert that wind turbines will generate on average 30% of their rated capacity over a year, it said.

But the research found wind generation was below 20% of capacity more than half the time and below 10% of capacity over one third of the time.

"Capacity" here indicates how much of its full potential an energy actually generates over time. Wind farms operating at full capacity produce relatively modest amounts of electricity. As the Beeb notes, even the wind industry and the government agencies that... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Nothing illustrates the distance between the political culture and reality in modern governments so much as the billions invested in wind power. Presumably the purpose of such investments is to a) reduce greenhouse emissions and b) reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The plain fact that it increases both seems not to have bothered anyone.

Except, perhaps, the John Muir Trust. The JMT is a conservation charity that protects wild lands in Scotland. The trust commissioned a study of wind power that covered UK wind farms for about two years (2008-2010). The BBC summarizes the results.

Statements made by the wind industry and government agencies commonly assert that wind turbines will generate on average 30% of their rated capacity over a year, it said.

But the research found wind generation was below 20% of capacity more than half the time and below 10% of capacity over one third of the time.

"Capacity" here indicates how much of its full potential an energy actually generates over time. Wind farms operating at full capacity produce relatively modest amounts of electricity. As the Beeb notes, even the wind industry and the government agencies that promote it don't claim that wind farms will operate at more than 30% capacity over a year. By contrast, a coal fired plant will usually operate at more than 70% capacity over the same time, and a nuclear plant at more than 90%.

It gets better:

During each of the four highest peak demands of 2010, wind output reached just 4.72%, 5.51%, 2.59% and 2.51% of capacity, according to the analysis.

It concluded wind behaves in a "quite different manner" from that suggested by average output figures or wind speed records.

The report said: "It is clear from this analysis that wind cannot be relied upon to provide any significant level of generation at any defined time in the future.

Surprisingly enough, wind is less predictable than you might guess from "average output figures." Even the 10% capacity is exaggerated. During periods of peak demand, when additional power is needed most, wind power output in the UK was between 2 and 6% capacity.

The BBC piece doesn't do justice to the report. Wind generation was below %2.5 capacity one day in twelve during the period studied, and below %1.25 capacity one day a month. A lot of really expensive toys were not even spinning.

The report's conclusion is beyond reasonable doubt: there is no realistic chance that wind power will contribute anything to the power needs of the UK or any other nation. Yet massive investment in wind power continues. Last August I noted the fact that Portugal had jumped into the renewable power business. I did find one happy note.

It hasn't bankrupted the country. Yet. On the other hand, it has increased the cost of electricity to Portuguese households by 15%. They were already paying twice what Americans pay to flicker on an energy efficient bulb. What it hasn't done is to produce green jobs.

That was a bit premature. Portugal is bankrupt now, going hat in hand to the EU for another of its infamous bailouts. I doubt that Portugal's rush to renewable was a major cause of its fiscal disaster. The estrangement from reality that wind power represents is in fact the cause of that disaster.


Source: http://southdakotapolitics....

APR 10 2011
https://www.windaction.org/posts/30588-they-toil-not-neither-do-they-spin
back to top